The Ice Warriors, like the Silurians, are an ambiguous race, even if they did not begin that way. In their debut story as the titular foes (which thanks to various rumours on the missing episodes I still have to watch!) and in the sequel The Seeds of Death, we are in no doubt that the Ice Warriors of Mars are bad news and out to do no small amount of harm to mankind. It therefore sets up the greatest of shocks in The Curse of Peladon when it transpires that the Ice Warriors have renounced violence and are not the villains of the piece.
In contrast to the Silurians, I loved the return of the Ice Warriors in Series 7 – not only was the episode excellent for its storytelling, the character of the Ice Warrior was truly well developed. Credit where due – one reached the end of the story wishing to find out more but satisfied by what had been told – the holy grail of storytelling to leave the imagination so inflamed that you yearn to find out what happens next.
For this reason, I rate the Ice Warriors somewhat higher than the Silurians as recurring villains – for one thing you can never be quite reassured that they are on your side – they are honorable yes, but very evidently dangerous and unafraid to stand up for themselves. They are very impressive in the Troughton era, and perhaps slightly let down by their costumes not being updated for the colour era in their two Pertwee episodes – which is why Cold War is even more important. It demonstrates just how scary they ought to be with the right costumes and visual effects. In their case, the main reason they aren’t higher is with due respect – they are not actually a villainous race, but a proud one. Had they possessed the same ruthless drive of the Daleks or Cybermen they’d be prime candidates for number one – as it is … there’s too much of a suspicion that they are on the good side!